On April 18, 2016, The Architectural League of New York presented its President’s Medal to Michael R. Bloomberg. The President’s Medal is The Architectural League’s highest honor and is bestowed, at the discretion of the League’s President and Board of Directors, to recognize an extraordinary body of work in architecture, urbanism, art, or design.
Recent recipients of the President’s Medal include Henry N. Cobb, Richard Serra, Renzo Piano, Amanda Burden, Massimo and Lella Vignelli, Hugh Hardy, Richard Meier, Ada Louise Huxtable, Robert A.M. Stern, Kenneth Frampton, Billie Tsien and Tod Williams, and Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown.
The Medal was presented to Bloomberg at a dinner at the Metropolitan Club for 330 guests. Artist Christo, former Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell, and Shaun Donovan, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget at the White House, celebrated Bloomberg with remarks.
As part of his remarks, Edward G. Rendell said:
As all of you know, he insisted on design excellence in public projects. Even though it may have cost taxpayers a little more, he understood that public buildings and public spaces should inspire us; should make us feel good about where we live; should make us feel motivated to do great things in our own city. And by doing this, we attract great architects.
In presenting the award, Architectural League President Billie Tsien remarked:
As a citizen of the world, thank you for supporting work to combat climate change, and for tackling issues of women’s equality globally. As an American, thank you for taking on the gun lobby, supporting women’s right to choose, for affirming racial and religious diversity, and believing in cities. As a New Yorker, thank you for banning smoking, for bike lanes, the renaissance of public parks, and for your incredible support of the arts for all. As an architect, thank you for your belief that the built environment has the potential to change cities and lives for the better.
She then read the following citation:
The Architectural League awards its President’s Medal to Michael R. Bloomberg with deep admiration for his forward-looking leadership, innovative ideas, and decisive action, that have helped New York City and cities worldwide make progress toward a better tomorrow. His commitment to the support of arts and culture; to the highest aspiration in architecture and design to serve human needs; to bold action on climate change and health; to investment in the infrastructures, technologies, and systems that support long-term growth and flourishing, all speak to an expansive and enlightened understanding of the environment and its importance for collective and individual well-being. Optimist, activist, visionary: Michael Bloomberg is an architect of the city and the world of the future.